The infamous 1969 killings of Sharon Tate and four others took place in Los Angeles, so why is San Francisco at the heart of the Manson story?
Without San Francisco, Manson never could have done the things he did. He happened to be living in the Haight [in 1967] just as all these helpless waifs were converging there, kids who wanted to be told how to live. I was 16 at the time, and all I wanted to do was come to San Francisco and be part of it. If a guy had come up to me and said, “Get on this bus—you can leave everything behind,” I would have been on that bus. If Manson had been in Omaha instead of San Francisco, or had come two years earlier or two years later, it could never have happened. He was the wrong man in the right place at the right time.
Originally published in the August 2013 issue of San Francisco